As Houston area drivers, we share our roads with hundreds if not thousands of trucks each day. Large commercial trucks, also called big rigs or semi-trucks, can carry a large number of goods across the country. Semi-trucks typically have 18 wheels, which are necessary to handle the weight and stress of the mighty cargo they carry. Unfortunately, tires are also a major cause of safety concerns. When a truck’s tires are not properly maintained, it can cause a tire blowout. Tire blowouts can happen anywhere and at any speed and can cause serious accidents.
There are many reasons that a truck’s tires may blow out. Tires are made from rubber and other materials that wear out. The more distance that a truck travels on tires, the more quickly the tires have to be replaced. When the tread gets too low, the tire may no longer have the support it needs to handle the load, and it can blow out. Tires without proper inflation can also lead to blowouts. Inflation can change due to pressure changes that occur with different temperatures and altitudes.
Carrying too much weight or improper cargo placement can cause tires to wear in an uneven manner. The truck tire tread has to be checked before and after every trip and the tires must be replaced if they are worn out. Worn tires are a danger for truck drivers and for the public. Worn-out tires can shred and parts of them can come loose and hit other drivers.
A truck has tires to handle heavy loads, but when a tire blows out, it can cause the truck to swerve out of control. Even truck drivers with experience can find it difficult to control a truck when a tire blows out. The truck can quickly shift position, and this can cause the cargo to shift. When this happens, the truck is virtually impossible to control and the other vehicles on the road are in real danger.
Heat can play a role in a truck tire blowout. When truck tires travel on the pavement, they heat up and the heat can contribute to a change in tire air pressure, especially when the truck is traveling for long periods of time. Trucks weigh over 80,000 pounds when loaded to capacity, so they become difficult to handle and to stop when a problem occurs. This is true when a truck tire blows out when a truck is traveling at a high rate of speed. Other drivers can have difficulty getting out of the way of a shredded or loose tire. A truck out of control can hit other vehicles and can cause a serious and dangerous accident that might involve multiple cars.
Truck drivers and owners must inspect and maintain vehicles to ensure their safety on the road. Before a truck driver begins a trip, he or she should always inspect the tires to make sure they are in good condition and that they are properly inflated. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has tire safety rules and guidelines in effect for large trucks. Drivers and owners have a responsibility to properly inspect and maintain a truck’s tires before it travels on the road.
If you were hurt in a truck accident, you may be owed money for your damages. Contact attorney Greg Baumgartner for a no-charge consultation on an injury accident.